Things to do in Brighton this weekend | 1st – 3rd December

It’s Decemmmmbber! And we don’t know about you, but we’re starting to feel a teensy bit Christmassy. Maybe it’s the frost, maybe it’s John Lewis’ Christmas advert (by far the best, in our opinion). Either way, there are loads of festive events to get stuck into on Saturday and Sunday, not least Brilliant Brighton’s festive afternoon, more artists’ open houses, and the start of Hanover’s street advent calendar. And it’s also Small Business Saturday, so it’s the perfect time to continue to support small local businesses. But it’s not all about shopping, we’ve got spinning, singing and new saunas, too. Dive in to our Brighton weekend guide!

Check out a new indie shop

Speaking of indie shopping, Artist Ilona Drew officially opens her first bricks-and-mortar store in town on Saturday, showcasing her gorgeous wares in this teal-fronted store. She’s selling all of her designs – vibrant city prints (we particularly love the Brighton ones), cards and lifestyle products – so it’s a great place to do some Christmas shopping.
Opens Saturday 2nd December
3 Kensington Place, Brighton, BN1 4EJ

Tour the festive fairs

The whole of Brighton is going market mad this weekend so there are a LOT of winter fairs all around the city and beyond. These are two of our faves for starters: the Brighton Illustration Fair (BIF) winter market on Saturday. Showcasing prints, cards, ceramics and clothing from 60 of the finest illustrators out there (10am – 5pm; from £2; Wagner Hall, 2 Regency Road, BN1 2RU; dogs are welcome), it’s always one of the best and is perfect for gift shopping. And then you’ve got the Silver Spur Makers’ Market on Sunday (10am – 4pm; free; Knoyle Hall, BN1 6RB) – perfect. Several of our favourite sellers will be there, including Secret Store Pop-up with preloved cashmere, luxury basics, and sparkles, with other stalls including well-known local artists and makers selling everything from ceramics and art to knitwear, jewellery, art and food. Elm Grove Primary School’s Saturday fair also sounds great (11.30am – 3pm; £1; Elm Grove, BN2 3ES): you’ll find local makers’ stalls, games, craft, books, a raffle, a cafe, and what’s said to be one of the best Santa’s grottos in town. And it’s the Brighton Christmas Makers’ Fair on Saturday in the gorgeous 13th century All Saints Church in Hove (11am – 5pm; All Saints Hove, The Drive, BN3 3QE), featuring 65 artists and makers. The vegan market is back with a Christmas edition at the Brighton Open Market on Saturday (10am – 5pm; free; Marshall’s Row, BN1 4JU), so it’s a great time to stock up: Cat Burglar Dough Co’s seasonal doughnuts and Lisa Holdcroft’s gorgeous Brighton Christmas cards are on our shopping list. Finally, Black Brighton Market is back this Saturday (11am – 6pm; from £4; The Actors, Brighton, BN2 1RD) with lots of creative stalls, as well as live music (local musician, singer and rapper Mrisi is headlining), tarot readings, an open mic and free entry to a raffle. Happy indie shopping!
Saturday 2nd December and Sunday 3rd December; various times and locations

READ ALSO: Where to buy your Christmas tree this year

Get your festive on out of town

If you fancy a bit of a road (or bus/train) trip, there’s even more going on: Artelium Wine Estate’s Christmas Makers’ Market (10am – 4pm; free; Streat Lane, Streat, Hassocks, BN6 8SA) on Saturday is well worth the trip. You’ll find artisan offerings and handmade gifts galore, raclette, and lots of wine, obvs. Or travel over Worthing way for the Fairy Tale Fair’s ‘This is Christmas’ craft fair on Sunday in aid of St Barnabas House hospice (10.30am – 3.30pm; Charmandean Centre, Forest Road, Worthing, BN14 9HS). You’ll find over 70 local creatives selling their wares, plus a cafe, free face-painting and balloon modelling, a live choir and special guests, including the Sussex Ghostbusters, a fundraising cosplay gang, apparently. Finally, Long Man Brewery (Church Farm, Litlington BN26 5RA) are having a Christmas fair on Saturday, too (midday – 7pm; free). Think live music, hand-crafted gifts and food and drink tastings from some of the best local producers.
Saturday 2nd December; various times and locations

Work up a thirst at a spin class

In a cheeky twist on the paint and sip, Bitter Women Brewery are bringing a spin and sip to Brighton. Get those endorphins going and work up a thirst in the beginner-friendly cycling class at RogueCycle by Brighton station before sinking some beers at The West Hill Tavern. Don’t worry if your legs are feeling a little wobbly, it’s only a short stroll to the cosy pub.
Saturday 2nd December, 11.45am; from £13.33
RogueCycle, at the back of Brighton Station, Brighton BN1 4DJ

Dance and donate for World Aids Day

It’s World Aids Day weekend so Pirate House Brighton have launched a new bass and tech house radio show and livestream to raise money for the UK’s leading HIV and sexual health charity, the Terrence Higgins Trust (donate here). Immerse yourself in two hours of glorious non-stop music from Tab Beats, Bloodl3tter, Poppy Davis, and more.
Saturday 2nd December; 4pm – 6pm

Eat at Embers

We’re big fans of the flavour-packed wood-fired food at Embers and we’re far from alone in our appreciation of Dave Marrow’s and Isaac Bartlett-Copeland’s cosy restaurant. It may only have been open for seven months but they’ve just been included in the Michelin Guide (they’re already in the Good Food Guide). Grab a seat at the pass for the best view in the house. You didn’t ask, but the bonfire potato with truffle cheese on toast to follow are always part of our order. They recently launched wood-fired Sunday roasts and their December menu also looks mouth-wateringly moreish.
42 Meeting House Lane, Brighton, BN1 1HB

Get Christmassy at a concert

The Brighton Gay Men’s chorus are back with another fabulous festive show – Singderella. You can expect an evening of brilliantly camp classics and festive tunes around that oh-so-familiar fairy tale. And you can be sure as Santa that this Christmas Cinders will be going to the ball.
Saturday 2nd December; 7.30pm; from £12
Brighton Dome, Church Street, Brighton, BN1 1UE

Warm up at a sauna

The temperature has well and truly dropped so it’s the perfect time to head to the sauna. We’re spoilt for choice with options in Brighton (more on that soon), but one you might not have tried yet is the new wood-fired sauna at Stanmer Sauna Garden in the heart of the Stanmer Organics cooperative in Stanmer Park. On Saturdays, they offer storyteller-led immersive communal sessions with scents, sauna treatments and whisking, followed by warming soup by the fire for just £22.
Saturday 2nd December; 11am – 1pm (meet in the shop cafe at One Garden at 10.30am); £22
Stanmer Sauna Garden at Fork and Dig It, Stanmer Organics, Stanmer Park, Lewes Road, BN1 9PZ

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Celebrate hand-printing at a zine fair

Forget the Christmas markets for a sec, Sunday is all about the zine. Say hello to the Rose Tinted Spectacular Zine Fair at artist and musician-run pub The Rose Hill. Celebrating all things hand-printed, there are stalls from 15 talented local DIY creators, including Paper & Ink and Back Room Poetry, plus a communal table where you can sell or swap zines. They’re also raising money for local migrant housing charity T41K, so donate what you can on the door.
Sunday 3rd December; midday – 5pm; donations on the door
The Rose Hill, Rose Hill Terrace, Brighton, BN1 4JL